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Friday, 15 July 2011 ,  Written by Mike Flacy
Roku XDS Media Player Review
We have reviewed a vast amount of media players over the last year and a half, but nothing more dependent on streaming access than the Roku XDS.  Over the years, Roku has consistently positioned itself as a leader in building inexpensive media players that have lead many consumers down the path of ending dependence on expensive cable or satellite television service.  Competition has risen up from companies like Western Digital and Apple, but Roku continues to respond with players that range from $59.99 to $99.99.  These players vary in capability, but even the most inexpensive player (the Roku HD) provides 720p video, HDMI and built-in Wi-Fi.  The next step up is the Roku XD if the consumer wants 1080p playback and Wireless-N capability (assuming their router supports it).  The subject of this review is the Roku XDS.  The XDS includes ...
Tuesday, 22 February 2011 ,  Written by Mike Flacy
Slingbox PRO-HD Review
While set-top boxes and home media servers have done an excellent job of providing access to our content around the home, another battlefield for gaining our attention is on the mobile front.  Beyond the barrage of online services to choose form for streaming content, we also have the ability to stream our own recorded content on the web.  The Slingbox Pro-HD is a device exactly for that purpose.  For those that are unfamiliar with the concept of the Slingbox, it's a intermediary device that sits between your content provider (cable, satellite, DVR, etc) and your television.  Using a connection to your home network, it can send out anything on content provider to your PC or most mobile devices.  For instance, if you are commuting and want to watch a live football game, you can. However, it's not a device to record ...
Tuesday, 15 February 2011 ,  Written by Mike Flacy
Dell Inspiron Zino HD (410) HTPC Review
With the set-top box and Internet-connected televisions dominating the home theater space as of late, dedicated home theater PCs have become less useful from the standpoint of the mainstream user.  However, there's still a niche space for those looking for high-end performance and small form factor in the home theater, something that a simple set-top box struggles with.  The custom HTPC market has been dwindling due to the rise of small computers like the Mac Mini or, in this case, the Dell Zino.  The first iteration of the Zino (released in early 2010) was woefully underpowered for playing high-definition media and was panned by critics due to stuttering 1080p playback as well as a lack of a Blu-ray option.  Dall must have taken that criticism to heart with the revision of the hardware (the 410), the model that's the focal ...
Wednesday, 19 January 2011 ,  Written by Mike Flacy
Boxee Box Review
Over 2010, there were a plethora of media players released in the consumer electronic space from brands like Western Digital, Apple, Netgear, Roku, etc…  Add in the iterations of digital cable boxes released with similar features as well as new Smart HDTVs with built in apps and the space is already insanely crowded.  In order to appeal to the average CE consumer, you really have to bring something original to the space. Enter the Boxee Box created by D-Link, a uniquely designed set-top box that brings file functionality and organization to streaming web content.  It’s a result of the evolution of a piece of software called Xbox Media Center, an interface designed for the original Xbox that cataloged all of your media.  This software is still highly popular for the diy home theater PC crowd, but Boxee has taken it ...
Tuesday, 16 November 2010 ,  Written by Mike Flacy
I've always felt that Home Theater PCs have long been ignored as a viable alternative to physical media players in the home entertainment space, mostly because taking that next step into streaming or storing all your media in a central location seems very daunting to the average consumer; both from a technical and time consuming standpoint.  It's very refreshing to see the barrage of media player / HTPC hybrids that are taking the home theater by storm as of late.  Players like the Boxee, Western Digital's TV Live Hub or even the Apple TV are giving consumers new to the space an easy way to get started with playing stored media (both offsite and onsite) without moving into the serious video server arena.  Adoption and more widespread use of this technology will ultimately lead to consumers wanting more from their ...
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